Have faith, friends

By Greg Jones

Suffering and pain. Shadow and darkness. Sickness and brokenness. Ignorance and falsehood. Sorrow and despair. They’re all connected.

In lots of places on Earth, this is visible. It is abundant. When you visit these places, it’s plain to see. Places found everywhere in Africa – Asia – South America – the Caribbean – the Middle East. Places we usually think of as the Third World. Places where sickness, poverty and oppression rule.

Of course, in our own place — in our cities and rural hamlets, right in our own backyards, and at our front doors — it’s everywhere.

We know that – right? Don’t we know that these things are connected?

There is a cloak of shadow which seeks to cover up people, to reduce people, to stifle and bury people – turning them into lonely, blind and beggared souls – dropped off from the way – the way which in fact we were intended by God to journey in full lives of joy — diverted from the way God wants for us – by this force of darkness which does not love us, or what God wants, or God himself.

Friends, we were meant to be companions and pilgrims with God and each other in and through Creation and on toward a joyful eternity. Yet sin and death have set upon us – and this is the connection between suffering, brokenness, ignorance, and sorrow.

The connection between our sin and our sickness, between our lies and our blindness to the Way of God, this connection is a death-grip.

It is the death-grip — and it’s what Jesus Christ has come to break.

The Gospel of Mark is entirely about this.

Every healing act of God in Christ is total. In Mark – each story connects the total saving power of Christ to physical illness and spiritual illness. The paralyzed are healed of sin and physical paralysis. The lepers are cleansed of disease and isolation from God’s communion people. The Blind Beggar Bartimaeus emerges by faith in Christ – not only from blindness, but from a covered up life sitting empty beside the Way of God where people are on the go toward and with God and each other.

We were meant to be freed from the bondage of dying in the dark, and joined to the light in bonds of loving mercy.

Jesus is God-at-work, and He has come, and is on the move, and he is looking for you. Looking for you, listening for your cry as you sit in the shadow, covered in your sin and sickness, and he will be still for you to love you in mercy where you are – so that you may get up into the light of love and serve and follow.

If you’ve felt stuck, or silenced, or forgotten by a fallen world that doesn’t want you whole and on the go toward wholeness – and everybody on Earth has felt this way in First, Second or Third World – every addict, every lonely person, every soul at odds with broken lives and loves and dreams.

Have faith that God knows it, and doesn’t want it to be. The Son of David – the Son of Man – the Son of God – the beating heart of the Creator and the Creation now that he’s come – wants you to see, to love, to get up and go with Him and in Him and through Him.

Have faith, friends, that God wants you, and wants you better, and you can have it.

Have faith, friends, that your want to love and be loved is infinitely matched by God who wants to love and be loved. And not only matched, but heard and blessed so that it can and will happen.

Have this faith – this hope – this trust – this belief that God is not far off but has come near with the good news of your place beside Him in the Kingdom. This faith – in this reality which is Jesus Christ – it will make you well, to see, to live, to rejoice, and to spring up and go.


The Rev. Samuel Gregory Jones (‘Greg’) is rector of St. Michael’s in Raleigh, N.C., a trustee of General Seminary and the bass player in indie-rock band The Balsa Gliders — whose fourth studio release is available on iTunes. He blogs at Anglican Centrist.

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